Following the passing of HM Queen Elizabeth II last night, local councillors have paid tribute to the life and service of Britain’s longest-reigning Monarch.
On the evening of Thursday 8th September 2022, Buckingham Palace announced HM Queen Elizabeth II had died peacefully at Balmoral. The Queen, who was the UK’s longest reigning monarch and the world’s oldest head of state, inspired people across the globe in her service. A treasured figure in British society, her reign as monarch underpinned much of the country’s practices, norms and traditions that united citizens. HM Queen Elizabeth became the central symbol of stability over the years, an island of consistency in a changing world.
The new PM’s response
The tragic news has impacted the world, with public figures and heads of state sharing condolences and sadness at the loss of the treasured monarch. In the UK, newly appointed Prime Minister, Liz Truss, announced:
“We are all devastated by the news we have just heard from Balmoral. The death of Her Majesty The Queen is a huge shock to the nation and to the world. Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built. Our country has grown and flourished under her reign. Britain is the great country it is today because of her.”
Ms Truss ended her speech “exactly as Her Majesty would have wished” by saying the words “God save the King.”
Response of local councils across the UK
However, tributes have not been exclusive from 10 Downing Street and leaders across the globe. Today, local government and communities have released statements on the tragic passing of Britain’s beloved monarch.
The Mayor of Ashford, Cllr Jenny Webb, said:
“Members and officers of Ashford Borough Council and residents across our borough share the sentiments of loss and sorrow felt all over the world at the passing of such an eminent patriot, whose life has been devoted to the service of her country and the Commonwealth as well as advocating peace and the importance of nations working together.
“She has been our great constant. Throughout her 70-year reign, while every aspect of our lives has changed, her dedicated duty, her decency and her dignity have provided an unending source of stability, reassurance and comfort.
“We offer our most sincere condolences to the Royal family at this most difficult time and will mourn the loss of our Head of State, great Ambassador for the United Kingdom, unifier of the Commonwealth and a leader admired and revered across the globe. Her place in history is surely secured as one of the greatest monarchs in history.”
In Somerset West and Taunton, the council have expressed their sadness at the news and plans to mourn the loss of Her Majesty. This morning they released the statement:
“Somerset West and Taunton Council is deeply saddened by the death of HRH Queen Elizabeth ll. The Union Flag has been lowered to half-mast at our offices in Taunton and Williton as a mark of respect to the UK’s longest serving monarch.”
Cllr Hazel Prior-Sankey, Chair of Somerset West and Taunton Council, said: “We pay tribute to Her Majesty The Queen who was loved and respected around the world, and give thanks for her incredible lifetime of service carried out with grace and dignity.
“Our thoughts are with His Majesty The King and the Royal Family at this sad time. On behalf of the residents of Somerset West and Taunton we offer our heartfelt condolences.”
Portsmouth City Council has also announced residents will hold a vigil and create a book of condolences for HM Queen Elizabeth II. Taking place at 1.30 pm today [Friday 9 September], a few words will be said by the Lord Mayor Cllr Hugh Mason and the Leader of Portsmouth City Council Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, before they are joined by the Deputy-Lieutenant, representing the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, in laying floral tributes on the steps of the Guildhall.
From the shockwaves sent around the world and through local communities across the country, we perhaps can’t yet comprehend the size of this loss. With the nation set to go into mourning for 17 days, the tragic passing of HM Queen Elizabeth will be the focus of the country for some time yet.
In such moments, it is important to reflect on the positives in such a loss. The life and service of Her Majesty must be celebrated whilst we mourn. This provides an opportunity for the country to come together during a time of uncertainty in Britain. What is certain, is that the passing of the monarchy symbolises change in the country – perhaps in more ways than one.